Tysons, VA

The Angelika Film Center (2911 District Avenue) in the Mosaic District is planning a series of films by Alfred Hitchcock to celebrate October and Halloween.

Most of the shows are $10 with advanced tickets required.

The theater has reopened with new precautions as a result of COVID-19, like decreased seating capacity.

The lineup, according to the Angelika Film Center website:

  • Rear Window — 7 p.m. on Oct. 6 and Oct. 7, 2 p.m. on Oct. 7
  • The Birds — 7 p.m. on Oct. 13 and Oct. 14, 2 p.m. on Oct. 14
  • Vertigo — 7 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Oct. 21
  • Shadow of a Doubt — 7 p.m. on Oct. 27 and Oct. 28, 2 p.m. on Oct. 28

Image via Angelika Film Center

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Local children’s book author, Joe Jamaldinian, is partnering with the Kendra Scott location in the Mosaic District (2920 District Ave) tomorrow (Sept. 19) for a charity event benefiting the Grace DC Homeless Project.

At the event, which runs from 12-2 p.m., Jamaldinian will be signing his Penguin Bob books purchased on-site and conducting meet and greets.

Grace DC Homeless Project is a non-profit that feeds and provides care packages for people experiencing homelessness, according to Jamaldinian.

For all the books sold, Jamaldinian will be donating 100% of the profits to the charity while Kendra Scott will be donating 20% of all sales.

The partnership came about after Jamaldinian said he was contacted by a Kendra Scott representative who loved his book.

Those who want to contribute to the cause but cannot make the in-person event are invited to donate to the cause directly.

Additionally, “20% of Kendra Scott purchases [go] to Grace DC Homeless Project during the event and online through September 20th,” a Facebook post said. “Just enter GIVEBACK8936 at checkout.”

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The “Tysons After Dark” series highlights different activities that keep people busy once the sun goes down. 

Indie films are back at the Angelika Film Center in Mosaic District.

After temporarily closing due to COVID-19 restrictions, Angelika Film Center reopened today (Friday).

The movie line-up for tonight and this weekend includes “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” “Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula,” “Inception” (for its 10th anniversary) and “The Eight Hundred.”

To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, the theater has several rules in place for moviegoers, including mask requirements, floor decals for social distancing, hand sanitizer stations, upgraded filters in the HVAC systems and more. A full list of the theater’s safety measures is online.

While movie theaters were allowed to reopen with limited capacity starting July 1, most theaters in the Tysons area waited several weeks before screening movies again. ShowPlace Icon and AMC Theatre reopened in Tysons last week.

In a poll earlier this week, roughly 68% of 369 Tysons Reporter readers said they do not feel comfortable going back to movie theaters as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Approximately 16% said they do feel safe heading back to theaters, while 14% haven’t decided yet.

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The Metropolitan Washington Summer Restaurant Week returns next week, and more than a dozen restaurants in the Tysons area are participating in the event.

The event lets people buy lunch, brunch and dinner from restaurants at fixed prices. Some of the restaurants will cocktails or wine pairings for dine-in customers and special discounts.

New this year, Summer Restaurant Week is offering family-style to-go dinners (RW To Go) for either $35 per person or $55 per person.

Here are the local participating restaurants and what they are offering:

Tysons

Vienna

Falls Church and Merrifield:

McLean

Summer Restaurant Week will run from Aug. 17-30.

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Chef Eugenia Hobson and her sons opened Our Mom Eugenia in Great Falls in 2016. Now, the restaurant’s Greek cuisine has arrived in Mosaic District.

Our Mom Eugenia opened Monday (Aug. 3) at 2985 District Ave, Suite 185 — the former spot for Little Dipper Hot Pot House.

Born and raised in Greece, Hobson has been a chef for the last 30 years, working at several local Greek restaurants — Mykonos Grill in Rockville, Athenian Plaka in Bethesda and Nostos in Tysons — before opening Our Mom Eugenia with her sons.

The menu on ChowNow for the Mosaic District location includes daily specials and the option to buy a meal for local healthcare providers and first responders ($12). “We will match every meal you buy and donate them to regional hospitals on a weekly basis,” the menu says.

Diners can choose from various spreads and appetizers including spanakopita, feta with olives, grilled octopus and keftedakia. The “Lamburger,” chicken wrap and an 80 oz. filet mignon with grilled shrimp and asparagus are a few of the entree options.

Desserts include baklava, loukoumades with honey, apple cake a la mode, Greek yogurt in a Martini glass with honey and walnuts and more. Family trays, a kids’ menu, beer, wine and a bottle of the house-made extra virgin olive oil are also on the menu.

The restaurant is open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and Sundays and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Diners can make reservations through OpenTable, where the restaurant has its safety precautions against COVID-19 listed.

Photo via Our Mom Eugenia/Facebook

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LEON, a natural-based fast food restaurant, is finally arriving in the Mosaic District. The restaurant plans to open its doors on Thursday, Aug 6.

Originally, the restaurant was aiming to open in the winter at 2905 District Avenue, Suite 160. It’s unclear what caused the delay.  

To celebrate their opening, LEON is holding a giveaway contest, according to a post on their Facebook page. The winner will receive free LEON through the end of the year. To enter, participants must download the app and create an account. 

The restaurant aims to provide a natural take on fast food, offering many options to accommodate people with dietary restrictions, including vegetarians, pescatarians and vegans. Their goal is to “make it easier for everyone to live and eat well,” according to their website

The online menu includes breakfast items like shakshuka and avocado toast, along with all-day dishes ranging from salads to the “LOVe burger” made with a beetroot-soy patty.

LEON was founded in 2004 and has more than 60 locations across the world, including Norway, the U.K. and the Netherlands. 

Photo via LEON/Facebook

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“Relay,” a new autonomous electric shuttle, made its first test run throughout Merrifield’s Mosaic District yesterday. 

Relay is a free, driverless transportation option that will take people from the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro Station to the Mosaic District. 

Yesterday’s testing was the beginning of a mapping process to teach the vehicle its route. In the learning process, the shuttle needs to stay on its route down to the millimeter, according to Dominion Energy’s Innovation Strategist Julie Manzari.

Testing and mapping usually take a few weeks or more with autonomous shuttles depending on the complicated nature of the route, according to Manzari. The route Relay will be taking is especially interesting due to busy roads. 

The project was launched by Fairfax County and Dominion Energy in partnership with EDENS, Virginia’s Department of Rail and Public Transportation and Department of Transportation, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and George Mason University.

Transdev will be in charge of the management and maintenance of the vehicle, which was made by EasyMile, according to the county’s website

In a YouTube video, EasyMile engineer Nathan Ramsey said that the shuttle has several different braking systems, uses GPS and has a LiDAR system, which observes the environment with infrared lasers.

“Using LiDAR, the vehicle can’t miss objects. It will see everything around it, and it will respond accordingly,” Ramsey said. “So if it needs to slow down or stop because somebody runs out in front of it — even if they dart out in front of it just a couple, mere feet — the vehicle will have no trouble stopping or slowing.”

Ramsey said that he believes the shuttle is safer than human drivers, noting that the technology can respond safely to human error.

The shuttle will be enforcing mask requirements and separation as much as possible to ensure COVID-19 safety. They plan on keeping a seat between each passenger and requiring passengers to wear their seatbelts, according to Manzari. 

“We have a lot of enthusiasm around the project,” said Manzari. “People are very curious about autonomous vehicles.”

Photo courtesy Peggy Fox/Dominion Energy

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About a year after Wee Chic opened in the Mosaic District, COVID-19 restrictions temporarily closed the brick and mortar store. Now, the newly reopened kids’ clothing boutique is preparing for the fall.

Started in Maryland a little more than 10 years ago, Wee Chic made a quick pivot to e-commerce with curated boxes and an online store this spring. Just like owner Bridget Quinn Stickline predicted back in May, the reopened stores are currently offering steep discounts as Wee Chic looks to shed excess inventory and make way for fall clothing.

“We still have too much inventory,” Stickline told Tysons Reporter in mid-July. “Currently, we’re selling product up to 60% off. This is the good stuff that would have sold full price.”

With fall approaching, Wee Chic plans to make changes again — a “giant pivot cycle” as Stickline calls it — to keep the business going during the pandemic. Stickline stressed that the store is committed to serving shoppers with various comfort levels around COVID-19 precautions, from in-store browsing with required face coverings to online shopping.

Curated Boxes Returning 

Wee Chic first promoted its curated “Shop Box” in the spring to help with the inventory overload, but put a pause on the box due to the summer sale.

As the store now looks to move away from being heavily discounted, Stickline said that she plans to relaunch the box for fall merchandise.

Here’s how the box works: employees talk to shoppers over the phone to pick out 10-20 pieces, which can include multiple sizes. When the box arrives, kids try on the clothes and parents send back whatever they don’t want. Shoppers who keep a certain number of pieces get a percentage off their entire order.

Because the box is not a subscription model, Stickline said that her employees work hard to pick out the right products.

“[Subscription services] have a chance to get it right,” Stickline said. “In our model, it’s one box. That one box has to be good enough.”

Stickline noted that while Wee Chic had been offering the box for awhile, the store hadn’t given it a name or marketing until the pandemic.

Loyalty Program

Bringing back the box isn’t the only upcoming move for the fall. Wee Chic is also looking to start a loyalty program — “Something we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” according to Stickline.

Stickline sees the loyalty program as a way to make her customers feel appreciated and also ease any strain on their wallets from the pandemic.

“Everyone I think is more concerned about spending right now,” she said.

Inventory Changes

Regular customers might notice some changes to Wee Chic’s inventory this fall. Unlike previous years, the store is now looking to reduce its party dresses and ramp up its toy and gift options as the pandemic affects clothing demand.

Wee Chic is also selling masks for kids and tweens, which Stickline calls “a little bit of a heartbreaker.” The masks include pastel colors, sharks, unicorns, corgis and more. “

“You still have to buy clothes,” Stickline said. “Some kids are going back to schools a few days a week.”

Even for families and school systems opting for fully virtual learning, Stickline noted that kids outgrow clothes quickly.

Parents normally have to size up for a few or all of their kids’ clothing pieces every season, with ages 2-5 usually seeing the fastest growth and ages 6-8 most likely for growth spurts, Stickline said.

Online Wish List

When the pandemic prompted social distancing and canceled in-person events, Stickline noticed that shoppers started to spend more on kids’ presents.

“I feel like people are giving slightly nicer gifts because they can’t go to showers,” she said. “[People] want to make more of a gesture. You’re sad for a kid who can’t have a birthday party when they’re 6.”

In pre-COVID times, kids could pick out items in the store for wish lists. Now, work is underway to create an online registry.

Stickline sees the online wish list as a way for would-be guests to send “a big box full of fun” to kids and their families celebrating birthdays and holidays.

“The role I see for us in the world as a business is we’re here to spread some cheer and make things better,” she said.

Photo via Wee Chic/Facebook

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Jewelry store Alex and Ani seems to have left the Mosaic District.

The Merrifield location has an empty storefront and has been removed from the company’s website in addition to the Mosaic District’s directory

No social media posts have been made regarding the closure, and attempts to reach the company have been unsuccessful. However, their Facebook page indicates that their location is permanently closed. 

Meanwhile, the Alex and Ani location in Tysons Corner Center is still listed on the company’s website and mall’s directory. While both sites say the store is “closed,” a mall employee said that the store is open.

Photo courtesy Patrick Raffaele

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Dominion Energy plans to roll out an autonomous, electric shuttle named “Relay” for testing in Merrifield as early as next week.

The self-driving shuttle will make a loop between the Mosaic District to the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station. Fairfax County and Dominion Energy teamed up last year to start the pilot program to improve connectivity between the station and the shopping center, which are just under one mile apart according to Google Maps.

Peggy Fox, Dominion Energy’s spokesperson, told Tysons Reporter that testing is expected to start soon on the pre-mapped route. “It will be several weeks before we’re able to accept passengers,” Fox said.

Currently, the autonomous shuttle, which was made by the French company EasyMile, is in Alexandria awaiting its move to Merrifield next week, Fox said.

According to Dominion Energy, Relay is the first test of autonomous public transportation in Northern Virginia.

Photos courtesy Dominion Energy

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